FOXBORO, Mass. — Aaron Dobson finally suited up for the New England Patriots on Monday — two and a half months after the rest of his teammates.
The wide receiver, who underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, should be playing catch-up after missing so much time during organized team activities, minicamp and training camp, but Dobson didn’t seem worried. He has been staying in his playbook and paying close attention during meetings.
“I felt good,” Dobson said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium about getting back on the field. “I stayed attentive in meetings. I made sure I kept myself ahead of the game in my playbook. I felt good coming back in here.”
Dobson was downright optimistic about returning from the injury, which he suffered as a rookie in the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game loss to the Denver Broncos last season.
“I feel like I did that already,” Dobson said about making up for lost time. “I feel like I stayed attentive in meetings, like I said. Just staying around the game and doing what I can do, staying in my playbook and just staying ahead.”
Dobson was expected to start at the “X” receiver spot had he come into the offseason healthy. However, Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell have been participating in practice and working with quarterback Tom Brady while Dobson has been stranded on the sidelines. Luckily for Dobson, Thompkins and LaFell haven’t consistently set themselves apart in the competition for the starting role.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Dobson appears to have bulked up over the offseason, based on his appearance on the field. He looks bigger, and that could help him compete with opposing defensive backs for contested passes — an area which he struggled at times in his rookie season.
Dobson was in full pads Tuesday, but he did not participate in drills during the Patriots’ joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles. Dobson worked in positional drills, then left with a trainer to work out on the lower practice field.
“I feel good,” Dobson said after practice. “I’m progressing well, so I’m just taking it day by day to see how it goes.”
Dobson likely won’t suit up when the Patriots play the Eagles on Friday night, since he has been limited in practice.
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